How to host a guest blog post

92cb1a4bb465488d33c68dd59c66d1e4_400x400One of the best parts of having a blog is guest posting, which is when a blogger writes a post and has it published on someone else’s blog. There are many good reasons for guest posting including increased readership, exposure to new styles of writing and point of view, and earning clips for a portfolio should you ever want to guest post on bigger sites that pay.

My blog at the Bangor Daily News called Housewife Plus has had so many guest posts that it now features it’s own guest post page called House Guest with an index of past posts for readers to look up.

Today we’ll be looking to this page as an example to talk about some guest post etiquette. Ready? Here we go!

HOW TO INVITE A BLOGGER TO GUEST POST
If you have never hosted a guest post before it is important to think about whom you want to invite. Starting with bloggers who you already know and have a personal connection to is the best bet. Write a brief and friendly email explaining why you like that blogger’s style, that you think a guest post would be a great fit for your blog, and – most importantly – express flexibility. No one wants to be told what to do or how to do it. If you get a blogger to agree to post for you then setting simple and easy to follow guidelines such as target word count, image guidelines (must have permission to use images), and day in mind for when to publish the piece is fine.

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Once you’ve had a few bloggers guest post for you and you feel like it was a positive experience you can begin to ask bloggers you do not know if they would like to guest post for you. When cold pitching bloggers you don’t know it is wise to be friendly and professional in your invitation! Show them links to past guest posts, explain who you are and what your blog is about, reiterate that you like their work and that you think it would be a great fit.

HOW TO INQUIRE ABOUT GUEST BLOGGING FOR SOMEONE ELSE
It is a great idea to get your work on another blog for exposure to a new audience because it can draw some new eyes to your blog. Before you pitch a blogger about guest posting it is important to poke around their blog and see if they have any guidelines for submitting blog posts or if they address guest posts in any way. Some bloggers do not accept guest posts.

Just like when you invite someone to guest post for you, it is important to be friendly and professional in a brief email inquiring about submitting work for a guest post to another site.

HOW TO HOST A GUEST POST
So, you’ve got a guest blogger! Congratulations! Now, the groundwork begins. You want to make sure that you give your guest blogger a great experience. I like to think of guest posts as the same as inviting someone into my home. I try to be gracious, generous, and friendly in every detail that goes into hosting a guest blogger. Here are a few things I like to do on the House Guest page for my guest bloggers:

>HYPERLINK – I put hyperlinks in as many spots as I can to drive traffic back to my guest bloggers website, social media platforms, any books they are selling, or projects they are working on. Things to hyperlink are the title of the post, the author name, any website name, phrases or words in the body of the post.

>BIO – Make sure to include an author bio at the end of the guest post so that readers have the chance to learn a little bit more about your guest! You never know who is reading your blog and you want to give your guest blogger every opportunity to expose their work to new potential readers.

>ITALICIZED VERBIAGE – I like to include the same exact paragraph about my House Guest series at the top of every guest post. This does two things; 1) it tells readers that I have a guest post and invites folks to apply to post for me. 2) It creates a consistent look on my House Guest pages. Loyal Housewife Plus readers have become used to this look and have grown to expect it as it gives the page a more professional appearance.

This is what appears on Housewife Plus guest posts:

If you are just tuning in, the House Guest series introduces emerging and established voices in the blogger world to the Housewife Plus audience. The writers featured here share their stories about parenting, marriage, and life in general. They are sometimes serious, other times funny, but always real. For information on how to be featured in the House Guest series please contact Sarah Cottrell.”

> SHARE – Not only do I pepper a guest post with hyperlinks, but I also share guest posts on my Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest pages. Not only do I share the guest post, but I ask my guest blogger to do the same. This way we are telling our respective audiences to check out the same link. I might end up with a few new followers and so might my guest blogger, which is the goal!

HOW TO CREATE A GUEST BLOG PAGE
When I started blogging my main goal was – and still is – to create a community of writers that I can learn from and so for me a guest blogging page makes sense as I intend to have regular guest posts on my BDN blog. If you would like to create a guest blog page it is simple to do with these few tips:

> Create a page called GUEST POST or something similar

> Give a great introduction to your guest blogging series by introducing yourself, giving details on your blog, and details on how writers may contact you to guest post for your blog.

> Index past guest posts in a simple list format with the name of the guest blogger and the title of their piece. Be sure to hyperlink their name to their website. And hyperlink the title to the guest post that appears on your site.

Guest posts are a great way to meet other bloggers, extend the reach of your own work, and to breathe new life into your own blog when you are in the throws of writers block or bogged down with life and cannot post your own fresh material.

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Sarah Cottrell

About Sarah Cottrell

Maine-based writer Sarah Cottrell is the voice behind Housewife Plus at the Bangor Daily News and is a regular contributor to Scary Mommy, Disney’s Babble, and Momtastic. Sarah runs a popular Facebook page, @Housewifeplus where readers laugh and share stories from the parenting trenches. She is a co-author in several books including I Still Just Want To Pee Alone from the New York Times Bestselling series. Sarah’s work has also been highlighted and featured by SELF Magazine and National Public Radio.